Read Ice Dragon Online

Authors: Bianca D'Arc

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General, #Dragons

Ice Dragon (4 page)

Tor seemed to consider.
You’re right! You’re smart, Roland.

The black dragon chuckled while Lana worked on his wound. She was tiring fast, giving him a great deal of her energy, but he really needed her help.

“It’s not as bad as I’d feared. You need to rest though, and this place is a good one. I’ll make do with the furs.”

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If you can drag that dead wood over here, I’ll start a fire for you. They
won’t see it way up here and even if they do, there’s nothing they can do
about it.

Lana smiled and made a dash for a good-sized, fallen pine log, but it was too heavy for her. Tor saved her the work by plucking it up in one talon and dropping it neatly in front of the black dragon. She scooted out of the line of fire, and within moments, Roland gave her a roaring fire that would last a few hours at least. She made a bed for herself from the few furs she’d managed bring with them in her travel pack.

Come here,
Roland told her quietly,
closer to me. I’ll keep you warm.

Lana shook her head and laughed.
“No, thanks. Tor has nearly squashed me too many times for me to sleep near a dragon ever again.”

I promise I won’t move a muscle. I’m fully grown, Lana. I do have some
control over myself, contrary to when I was Tor’s age. He’ll learn to settle
down as soon as his bones stop aching from the growth spurts.

“So that’s why…”

When dragons are his age, they are growing fast, particularly while
asleep. The bones ache slightly as they expand and movement is the only
way to relieve it. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. It’s instinctive.

“There’s so much I don’t know about dragons.”

You’ve done very well with him for a novice, Lana. Your love has
guided him. That’s the most important thing. He has a kind heart, even
after all he’s been through.

Lana couldn’t respond around the lump in her throat. She moved her furs closer to the black dragon and jumped slightly when he raised his good wing over her head. It was starting to snow lightly.

Under here, Lana. I promise I won’t hurt you and you’ll be warm and
safe while you sleep.

 

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Lana was skeptical, but it really was freezing at this altitude. She could barely feel her feet as it was. Snuggling into the furs, she allowed Roland to wrap his good wing around her, tucking her into his side. He was right. It was toasty warm next to his hot body and the snow sizzled into steam as it touched the wing over her head. She looked out on the snowy sky, the small fire burning steadily in front of her, and realized, in that quiet moment, she was comfortable and completely warm for the first time in years.

“You’re a good dragon, Roland. Thank you. After I sleep a bit, I’ll try another treatment on your side. I’m too tired now.”

That’s all right, little one. Sleep now. We’ll worry about everything else
in the morning.

 

Roland dozed, careful of the woman at his side. She felt right, cuddled next to him. She unconsciously stroked his flank with her face and hair as she moved slightly, her hands coming to rest in the ticklish spot just where his wing met his body, but he didn’t move. He liked the feel of her small, gentle hands on him. Perhaps too much.

He became aware of warmth seeping from her into him that should not be. Taking quick stock, he realized she was reaching out to him with her healing ability, even in sleep.

Lana, sweetling, wake up. You have to stop trying to heal me. I don’t
want you wearing yourself out on my account. It could be dangerous.

“What?”
Her voice was drowsy, still half-asleep as her hands subtly stroked him.

Pull your power back, little one. Do not expend your healing energy like
this.

“But I’m not doing anything.”

You are. I feel it, Lana.

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“No.” She faced him, coming out from under the shelter of his wing to meet his gaze.
“I feel no power drain.”

But I feel your heat. The heat of your healing power.

“That can’t be.”

Roland remembered then, a legend of his family. It didn’t seem possible that this little, unexpected woman could hold the powers his family had thought lost for generations, but then, stranger things had happened since he’d flown north. This would require a great deal of thought on his part and he didn’t want to trouble her with the magnitude of the discovery until he was certain.

It’s all right, sweetling. Go back to sleep. I must have been mistaken.

She moved back under his wing, settled back against him and was soon asleep once more. Roland watched carefully, gauging the energies flowing once more from her to him and back again. He knew then he wasn’t mistaken. Relaxed and out of immediate danger, they were feeding off each other in an endless loop. Neither would suffer ill effects from this kind of innate healing, or so the legends held. This was a rarity among rarities. No pair had formed this kind of bond in centuries, but it seemed this big-hearted, self-trained healer was doing so. It was a miracle. Or perhaps, he thought with a dragonish snort, it was magic.

 

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Chapter Three

“You’re much better this morning.” Lana moved constantly, trying to stay warm as she examined the worst of Roland’s injuries. He loved the feel of her little hands, so gentle on his hide.
“I thought you did a lot more damage than this when you blasted out of the cave.”

So did I, but I guess we got lucky. I feel fit to fly, as long as we take it
easy.

Tor bounded over, pushing snow everywhere.
How long will it take us
to get to your land now?

A few days, I think, but it’ll be warmer as soon as we clear the
mountains. I hope we can do that by tomorrow afternoon.

“So only one more night of snow?” Lana’s teeth chattered as she ran her hand down to his groin injury. He did his best to concentrate on anything but her tender touch in his most private areas.

If you’re lucky. There may be snow on the ground in the foothills as
well, but it won’t be quite this cold.

Lana sneezed daintily as she stepped back from him and moved to his side. “I’m almost done for now. I think you’ll be fine as long as you take it as easy as possible. No acrobatics, all right?”

Yes, mother.

Lana chuckled as Tor laughed and played in the snow. Roland could easily see she’d been a good mother to the orphaned dragonet. He was happy and his innocent heart was full of laughter and fun, as it should 34

 

be. After hearing what they’d both been through at the hands of Salomar, he knew it could have turned out quite differently.

Roland felt the tingling heat in his sore side and then the easing of his pain, accompanied by her expenditure of energy. She leaned against him a moment and he pulled his good wing around to steady her.

Are you all right?

“That’s what I should be asking you.”

You’re swaying on your feet. You need to stop feeding me all your
energy, Lana. We have a long flight ahead of us.

“Not too long, I hope.”

I promise I’ll stop when I need to stop.

She straightened in the embrace of his warm, enveloping wing. “All right then. That’s about all I can do for now. Make frequent stops, Roland, and I’ll check you over each time we land.”

 

They did not encounter any more of Salomar’s men on their way out of the mountains, though Roland moved much slower than he would have wished. Still, he found them a secure perch for the night and the temperature, while still well below freezing, was just a touch warmer the farther south they flew.

Lana curled up at his side again, seeking his warmth and sharing her energy with him unconsciously as she slept. It was a different sort of energy—one that wouldn’t drain her—or he would have put a stop to it.

She gave so much of herself to heal his grave wounds when she was awake, he wouldn’t stand for her doing the same while asleep. But this was different. This was an exchange of energy on a whole other level. She fed from his vast strength as she returned healing energy to him. He powered her and she healed him. It was slow, but it was definitely beneficial.

 

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When he woke in the morning to find her tucked against his side, he felt much, much better. Roland liked the feel of her close to him, sharing his warmth, and he realized he just plain liked her. A lot. After waking like a sleepy kitten next to his warm body, she examined him, giving of her own energy in the only way she had known to this point, to help speed his healing even more.

They reached the foothills by afternoon and were able to fly lower, where the air was warmer. Tor enjoyed the comparatively warm updrafts, frolicking like the enormous child he was as Roland looked on with indulgence. Riding securely on his back as if she’d been born a knight, Lana screeched and laughed with her young friend, enjoying every swoop and dive the agile youngster put her through.

Roland was getting stronger too, but it was slow going. Without Lana and her care, he would have died of his wounds, so grievous they had been. Recovery was going amazingly fast with Lana’s attentions, but he was still not in the best shape. He had them stop on a grassy hill, only partially covered with dots of snow so he could rest. Tor pounced on a rabbit for Lana’s lunch and Roland obliged by lighting a fire in the kindling she gathered so she could cook the rabbit to her liking.

Tor ambled off to hunt and brought back a wild goat for him. Roland tore into it with hunger. He realized, only then, it had been days since he’d eaten. While dragons could survive for weeks when necessary without food, it wasn’t easy, and though raw mountain goat wasn’t his favorite dish, it would do in a pinch.

He polished off the goat while Lana daintily ate the rabbit she’d cooked, throwing the bones and bits she didn’t want to Tor. They were a good team, he realized, recognizing the habits of old friends who had a familiar routine.

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We could stay here tonight,
Roland sent the thought to his companions.

Lana shrugged. “I could do with a rest and the fire is nice.”

It won’t keep you warm all night, though.

She smiled up at him. “But you will, won’t you? I like sleeping at your side, Roland. It’s like sleeping next to a furnace.”

I like it too, little Lana. You are welcome in my bed anytime.
Only Roland knew the full implication of his words, but the time was coming when he would reveal himself to her. Soon.

She laughed and settled her small pack on the ground, setting up her version of camp. It was sparse—just a few furs she’d managed to pack into her bags when she realized they would have to leave the cave.

Thanks to Roland’s warning, she’d had time to grab the bags on her way out of the lair, so she had a few of her meager possessions.

She’d kept a lot of her smaller items in a bucket that had been scrounged from somewhere. It seemed to be one of her most prized possessions for she treated it carefully when she used it to fetch water from the nearby stream. Roland was still too sore in his side and groin to walk much on land, so she set pail after pail of water in front of him until his thirst was sated.

Roland watched her with his keen dragon sight as she peeled off one layer of clothing at a time down by the small stream. She washed economically, used to washing one part of her supple body at a time because it was so cold where she lived. It wasn’t too much warmer here, but it was better.

Roland idly wondered what she would think of the heated baths in his Lair. Would she dive in, her graceful body gloriously naked and revel in the ability to wash her whole body at once? Or would she be afraid of the water, since it was doubtful she knew how to swim? Either way, he www.samhainpublishing.com 37

 

would enjoy showing her his home’s amenities and seeing more of the lithe, feminine form he could only really guess at, though what he could see, a piece at a time, piqued his interest greatly.

Roland felt strong stirrings of desire that should have been blocked by the immense pain of his wounds, but the desire wasn’t of the body alone. It was a stirring near his heart that was totally unfamiliar. He wanted to pamper this poor girl, dress her in the finest silks and satins and let her play free from worry and fear. He wanted to cherish her.

And he wanted to fuck her. There was no denying it, but his body had to heal first. He stayed in dragon form because these wounds—even half-healed as they were—would have killed his human body. A day or two more, he figured, and it would be safe to shift. Then he would take her in his human arms and kiss her with his human lips. He would take her and make her his own.

Lana slept well and awoke refreshed. Roland’s injuries looked much better this morning and she thought black dragons must heal in their sleep even better than regular dragons like Tor. They flew far that day, resting less often, and she realized Roland took breaks more for her and Tor’s convenience than his own. He seemed so much more powerful, so much better. She was happy to see it.

At one point, he trumpeted loudly and landed on a rocky outcropping. Tor followed suit.

From here you can see my land,
he said with a touch of pride.
See the
river in the distance? That is the Arundelle River and it marks the
northernmost boundary of the Kingdom of Draconia and the Northland
wastes. We should reach the river by nightfall if we push hard, but I think
perhaps it would be wiser to spend the night on this side of the border and
cross in the morning.

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“Why is that?” she asked, stretching her limbs a bit.

The border is guarded. A strange dragon such as Tor will be
welcomed, but challenged when they first sight him. You, milady, will be a
shock to the knights, for no female has partnered with a dragon, as you
have with Tor, in millennia. I want to rest up and see this in the full light of
day.

His tone indicated amusement and some deviltry. Lana raised one eyebrow in his direction, but he only chuckled in that dragonish way of his.

“Very well, Roland. We follow where you lead.”

Roland stopped them for the night near a tributary of the huge river that had grown larger and larger the closer they flew throughout the day.

Lana remarked to him each time they stopped at how large the river was and he could tell it was the biggest body of water she had ever seen. He thought of showing her the ocean and looked forward to the light of wonder it would no doubt put in her eyes. There were so many wonders this beautiful little woman had never seen. He would show them all to her, but first she had to know who and what he truly was.

He would deal with the “who” later, but for tonight, he had plans to show her exactly what he was. One more night of their unconscious power exchange would make him well enough to shift without danger, he guessed. It would have to be. Before the next dawn he planned to show her the truth of his form and explain a little more about black dragons and her connection to the line. Hopefully she would take it well.

Roland directed them to a special area of the river he’d visited before.

There were a series of small pools on this side of the border that would act as bathing pools and provide fresh drinking water for them all without Lana having to tug the heavy pail over to him time after time.

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Roland landed almost perfectly, having to limp only a few feet to a small pool where he could easily crane his long neck over to drink. He drank thirstily, noting Tor doing the same at another of the little pools while Lana set up her tiny camp.

Tor suddenly jumped back, landing in another pool with a huge splash, drenching them all. The look of surprise on his young face overtook the shock of the water.

“What is it, Tor?” Lana’s voice was concerned as she moved toward her dragonet.

Something moved in the water!

Roland laughed with relief, realizing it was probably a fish that had startled the youngster. He reached in carefully with one talon and neatly speared a large fish from the bottom of his own pool. He held it up to the light, the scales shining iridescently in the fading sun as it wriggled furiously in death.

Have you never seen one of these before?

What is it?
Tor moved closer to examine the odd creature, his eyes wide.

“I think…” Lana said hesitantly. “I think it’s a fish. Am I right?”

Right you are, milady.
Roland dropped the fish at her feet, turning back to pluck a few more out of the pool. He threw one to Tor and started crunching on the others himself. After he had quickly eaten three and taken the edge off his hunger, he turned back to them.

At last, I get to provide dinner for my rescuers. Let this be the first of
many.
Roland bowed his great head to the fish at Lana’s feet.
Allow me to
prepare and cook this for you, milady. I think you’ll like it.

“I remember fish.” Her voice held the edge of tears and a bit of wonder. “My mother would make them sometimes with butter and herbs when we lived near a stream. They were smaller than that though.”

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Roland listened with compassion in his heart while he used his sharp claws to filet the big fish. He threw the innards to the younger dragon who was now chasing fish in the larger pool somewhat successfully. For every fish Tor caught, five got away, but he was chuckling with the effort and enjoying the game as one his age should.

Using just a hint of his own flame, Roland cooked the fish to perfection before handing it back to Lana, using the large pad of his paw, between the deadly talons, as a kind of platter.

Try this,
he coaxed as she stepped hesitantly forward.

She plucked a piece of the tender, cooked fish from his extended palm and put it to her lips. Her little tongue licked it first, making him think things about that tongue that were better saved for when he was in his alternate form. Blissfully unaware of his salacious thoughts, she took the piece of fish into her mouth and started to chew delicately. Her eyes lit up and tears formed there, surprising him. She was such a strong little thing, it was a shock to see her tender feelings so exposed.

“I remember this! It tastes like I remember.”

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